Canadian junior Moneta Gold has outlined a case for conventional openpit and underground mining methods and equipment to deliver a proposed C$517 million (US$394m) gold mine at Tower in Timmins, Ontario, that is projected to deliver an average 192,666 ounces a year over 24 years at all-in sustaining costs around US$1070/oz.
Moneta’s PEA, devised with input from engineer Ausenco and consultant Mining Plus, proposes a combined openpit and decline-underground operation supplying a seven million tonnes per annum CIL plant to produce an average 261,000ozpa in the project’s first 11 years and about 4.58 million oz over the proposed 24-year life-of-mine. A C$1.46 billion pre-tax NPV of $1.07b and 38.9% pre-tax IRR uses a 5% discount rate, US$1600/oz gold price and 78c Canadian-US dollar exchange rate.
Tower’s proposed capital payback period is 2.6 years (2.2 years at US$1700/oz gold price), with LOM sustaining capital at this stage put at C$886m.
The plan proposes a dedicated wet tailings storage facility for the first six years of production and up to circa-74Mt of inpit tailings deposition from years 7-17 for total LOM waste storage of 90.1Mt.
Moneta says annual production at Tower could peak at 368,622oz
The average mill head gold grade in the PEA is 1.28 grams per tonne in years 1 to 11 and 0.94gpt LOM, with 158.2 Mt at 0.81gpt over 24 years from openpits and 8.2Mt at 3.42gpt over 12 years (average 900,000 tonnes per annum) from underground. The preliminary plan has 220-tonne-payload trucks being used for surface waste haulage, and 50t-class underground haul trucks. SAG (8MW motor) and ball (twin-9MW) milling are proposed to crush ROM ore to a P80 of 75 micron.
Moneta says it will assess opportunities to “increase production and expand and improve economics of resources” in its pre-feasibility study.
CEO Gary O’Connor said the PEA outlined a “strong base-case for a significant and highly profitable new gold mine in Ontario”.
“In 2022, we will continue to focus on in-fill and definition drilling to better define resources and improve the economics of the resource through increasing grades and lowering strip ratios, while also identifying new targets,” he said.
Tower, 100% owned by Moneta, has estimated resources of 4.5Moz indicated and 8.3Moz inferred.
Moneta finished the June quarter this year with about C$4.8m in the bank and raised C$15.4m of new equity funding last month.
Its share price was down about 1% after the PEA announcement to C$1.88, capitalising the company at C$192m.